Frequently Asked Questions
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You basically have three choices when it comes to mobile phone contracts:
Monthly contract. With a monthly contract, you pay a monthly fee in return for a new phone and an allowance of calls, texts and data. You’ll be tied to a network provider by a contract that typically lasts 18-24 months. It can be a good option if you use your phone a lot or if you want to spread the cost of buying the latest phone.
SIM only. This is typically a 12-18 month contract that doesn’t include a new phone. It’s useful if you already have a phone you want to keep, but want a better price for data, texts and minutes. Find out more about the pros and cons of a SIM only deal.
Pay as you go (PAYG) – here you only pay for what you use. It’s a good option if you don’t use your phone very often and prefer not to be tied to a contract, or if you can’t get a contract due to a poor credit rating.
Mobile phone contracts vary by network but generally include:
Inclusive minutes: you’ll get to choose from a set number of inclusive call minutes. This is where finding the right deal is really important as you’ll be charged if you exceed your limit. And be aware that not all types of calls will be covered by your inclusive minutes.
International calls from the UK: if you call overseas frequently, then look for a plan that offers a good deal on international calls. If there’s one place you call often, see how different providers’ charges vary for that location.
Travelling abroad: If you travel overseas often, then you’ll have to pay roaming charges. You’re treated as roaming as soon as your phone is detected by an overseas network. Roaming chargesapply to calls, texts and data and will depend on what country you are in and what plan you are on.
Data: most deals come with a data allowance, so it’s important to know how much data you’ll need.
1GB is about a million emails or 2,000 with attachments. You could download around 200 songs or stream 1 hour of high definition video.
If you had 500 MB of data, then you’re looking at around half of this.
Inclusive texts: most packages come with a number of inclusive texts but, just as with inclusive minutes, you could be charged if you go over your limit.
When it comes to choosing a handset, you might want to think about things like:
Operating system: Android, Windows and Apple operating systems each have their own unique features, so it’s largely a matter of what you prefer, but you also need to think about whether you want to integrate your phone with other devices
Camera quality: if you’re a keen photographer, this will be a real deciding factor
Screen size and image quality: this will be important, especially if you’re planning to watch video on your phone
3G /4G capability: 4G phones are faster than 3G phones when it comes to browsing the internet and streaming video
Data storage capability: if you want to store games, videos and images on your phone, you’ll need to take this into consideration. Also look at whether you can use a microSD card with your phone to give you more storage
Battery life: you’ll want a phone that will last for a reasonable amount of time after being charged
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